Weight management begins with an assessment of your current state. Are you overweight or obese? You should measure your body mass index (BMI). If your BMI is 25-29.9 you are considered to be overweight. If the BMI is >30 you are obese and if it is >40 then you are considered to be morbidly obese. Next step is to evaluate your calorie intake and expenditure. Do you exercise? How much? The intensity and duration of exercise helps you determine your energy expenditure. Finally, what do you eat and how much? A food diary is a good way to monitor you intake. Once you have done this for a few days, you can calculate the number of calories you take in per day. There are websites and smart phone applications that can assist with these measurements.
Now you can start setting goals. Your goals should be “SMART”: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. You didn’t gain weight over night so it won’t come off overnight. Depending on you current status, you may focus on the diet aspect or the exercises aspect. It would be advisable to do both, however the most important step is to get started. Set a goal and once this has been achieved, then set another one: One example maybe to exercise 4 times per week for the next 4 weeks. This meets the SMART criteria. Upon examining your food diary, you may discover that you drink a large amount of sodas. So an example of another goal might be to drink only water for the next 4 weeks.
A good majority of people are overweight or obese because they consume too many calories. Eliminating excessive calories is the easiest first step to take. You should determine how many calories you need per day, based on your activity level and aim to consume less if weight loss is your goal. There are smart phone applications and websites that make these types of goal setting easy. You simply put in the required information and it will calculate the number of calories needed to achieve your goal. There are also some simple interventions that can be taken. Eliminating or severely limiting all useless calories such as alcohol, sodas, candy, chips and other items that are usually consumed for taste. Educate yourself about nutrition and what is required to fuel your body. Focus on providing your body with the ideal fuel such as lean meats, fruits, vegetables, grains, and avoiding simple carbohydrates, excessive amounts of food, and those with high fat content.
Regular exercise has benefits beyond weight loss. It can lower your blood pressure, improve your lipid profile and help control diabetes. It makes your bones and muscle stronger, improving coordination and minimizing bone loss. It improves mentation and in general helps you feel better. Individuals who exercise on a regular basis have a longer life expectancy. The best approach is to incorporate it into your daily life by taking up a hobby that you enjoy. Tennis, running, martial arts, biking or regular walks. The more you do, the more you can do and the more you will want to do. Start slow and gradually increase. Set SMART goals.
Whether you are trying to lose weight or maintain your current weight, regular exercise and proper nutrition is the appropriate approach. Setting SMART goals will allow you to gradually achieve your objectives without introducing elements of frustration, which can occur when the task at hand seems insurmountable. Just start!
I hope this article has provided you with information that will help you make wise choices, so you may:
Live healthy, live well and live long!
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